Love women? Vote Republican!
"It's the moms of this nation — single, married, widowed — who really hold this country together," Ann Romney.
“I loveyou womeeeeen!” yelled Ann Romney from the stage at the Republican National Convention in Tampa last week. It was so awkward. It was the most awkward, cringe-inducing moment of the convention (until Clint Eastwood took the stage, of course).
It wasn’t just that the delivery was forced and weird-sounding. It was that with phrase, all drawn out and falsely exuberant, it became clear that Ann Romney had been given one of the hardest jobs at the convention. Borderline impossible. Her job was to convince everyone watching that despite every appearance to the contrary, her husband, his running mate Paul Ryan, and the party they represent are absolutely totally a hundred percent big fans of ladies and do not want to curtail their rights at all even though they want to make abortion illegal have I mentioned that I LOVE WOMEN?
Ann Romney at the Republican National Convention in Tampa.
"Sometimes I think that late at night, if we were all silent for just a few moments and listened carefully, we could hear a great collective sigh from the moms and dads across America who made it through another day… And if you listen carefully, you'll hear the women sighing a little bit more than the men. It's how it is, isn't it?
It's the moms who always have to work a little harder, to make everything right.
It's the moms of this nation — single, married, widowed — who really hold this country together. We're the mothers, we're the wives, we're the grandmothers, we're the big sisters, we're the little sisters, we're the daughters."
Anyone who was hoping the shameless pandering to women was going to be subtle was probably feeling pretty disappointed at this point.
Romney argued that life is just that much harder for women, an odd sentiment from the wife of a candidate whose party doesn’t believe that the gender wage gap is real.
"It's the moms of this nation — single, married, widowed — who really hold this country together. We're the mothers, we're the wives, we're the grandmothers, we're the big sisters, we're the little sisters, we're the daughters.
You know it's true, don't you?
You're the ones who always have to do a little more.
You know what it's like to work a little harder during the day to earn the respect you deserve at work and then come home to help with that book report which just has to be done."
Romney is right, of course. Life is harder for American women than it is for American men. They’re more likely to live in poverty, they earn less over their lifetimes, they’re more likely to be the targets of sexual violence and of intimate partner violence that results in death or serious injury, and they’re underrepresented in pretty much every hall of power the country has.
You know what would make women’s lives easier? Banning abortion and making it hard to get birth control. What’s that you say, that would make women sigh more? Ann Romney can’t hear you. She’s too busy talking about how much she loves Willard Mitt Romney, the man she met at a high school dance (an adorable plot point she mentioned so many times that her speech started to sound like a Taylor Swift song). Mitt Romney is loved by this lady, she seemed to be saying, so all you other women should love him too! Which would be fine, I suppose, if we were electing a husband, but we’re not, we’re electing a President. And as President, Mitt Romney wants to roll back women’s rights, which makes him kind of hard to love.
It’s not only Romney and his running mate Wisconsin Congressman and totally average marathon runner Paul Ryan who want to roll back women’s rights. Romney is now the figurehead of a Republican Party that has spent this year talking about how birth control is “not okay” and how rape isn’t an acceptable excuse for anabortion and how women are such sluts for wanting to take the Pill. There’s a reason why the phrase “War on Women” has been thrown around a whole lot in the US this year. It’s because The Republicans seem dead set on making women’s lives a whole lot more difficult. Like, 1953 difficult.
Ann Romney did a surprisingly good job speaking to a packed convention centre and millions of TV viewers. She was charismatic and charming. She talked about her experience as a mother and a wife, and about how great a father Mitt was and is. She talked about how hard he works for the things he cares about, and about why his success as a businessman will make him a great American President.
She insisted that she didn’t want to talk about politics, but about love. “While there are many important issues we'll hear discussed in this convention and throughout this campaign,” she said, “Tonight I want to talk to you from my heart about our hearts…I want to talk not about what divides us, but what holds us together as an American family.” Above all, she wanted to talk about her love for Mitt Romney, in the hope that she could talk us into loving him, too, because that is absolutely how love works. She tried to make the women of America want him as a kind of national husband: steadfast, faithful, funny (his family keeps telling us this about him, despite a complete lack of evidence that he has ever told so much as a knock-knock joke in his life).
Above all, the purpose of Ann Romney’s speech last week was to assure any worried women out there that despite the unprecedented number of anti-choice bills at the state level in the last year, despite the fact that Mitt Romney didn’t have the decency to come out and say, “No, Rush Limbaugh, it’s not okay for you to call a woman a slut when she asks for birth control,” and despite the fact that the Republican Party’s platform contains a plank advocating a complete ban on abortion even in the cases of rape, incest, and a threat to the mother’s life, Mitt Romney loves women. Loves them so much he married one of them! What War on Women? Look at this one whole woman who thinks Mitt Romney is a fair and moral man! Pay no attention to the sexism behind the curtain!
It really was the toughest task at the convention, and no wonder: it’s hard to make women love a man who heads up a party that is systematically stripping of their rights, a party that thinks those very same women are too stupid to be trusted with birth control. And Ann Romney didn’t quite get the job done. A woman's work, it seems, really is pretty hard.